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An Irrepressibly Irritating Ad

When the going gets tough, the tough get lame.

At least, that's my read on the Microsoft's latest ad tactic, inserted in the print edition of yesterday's Wall Street Journal. It's a full-page ad insert masquerading as a "draft" of a Microsoft corporate letter, complete with marked-up text and presented on ivory, heavy-stock letterhead. The letter, dated Jan. 12, 2009, opens:

It's not personal, it's just business.

Sorry, but what moron idiot wrote that?

It's personal to CJ the CEO, who mortgaged her house and her mother's house to start her cappuccino empire.

It's personal to Hideo the IT guy, who's been sleeping in his cube and wrestling with the latest intranet outage fiasco

First of all, who sleeps in cubes anymore? And "CJ the CEO"? Seriously?

The faux name-dropping is bad enough, but for my money it doesn't get any better than near the end of the text, when I hit this gem:

Because now more than ever, it's everybody's business -- every last one of the irrepressibly individual people who can come together and form a great company, even in a tough economy.

Call me a cynic, but "irrepressibly individual people" has the scent of desperate affirmation about it. It's as if the copy writers felt they had one chance to kiss up to customers in this gig and just threw caution to the winds.

And really, it's not the words that craters this ad buy -- it's the odd presentation. As RDN Executive Editor Jeffrey Schwartz commented to me: "It [was printed] on ivory heavy-stock paper. My sense is they wanted you to think you were stumbling across some secret document."

Hmm. Maybe it should have stayed that way.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 01/13/2009 at 1:15 PM


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